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FinSec Joseph Waight says Belize isn’t off the cliff as yet with the SuperBond

While efforts to recover that money continues, the burdening Superbond is finally getting a resolution. On Friday, the government announced over eighty-four percent of the bondholders have agreed to the buy-out proposal presented by Belize’s negotiators. Prime Minister John Briceno said that his administration is attempting to achieve, in this one transaction, both significant debt relief and the long-term protection of Belize’s precious marine environment. It’s ground-breaking good news for the government but today Finance Secretary Joseph Waight says Belize isn’t off the cliff as yet.

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary: “Essentially what it means is that a supermajority of the current bondholders have agreed to accept the government’s offer to accept cash to buy back the bond basically.”

Reporter: Does that include Venezuela ? 

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary: “I’m not sure I don’t think so. I don’t see any immediate cashflow relief. What I’m seeing is a reduction in the overall debt, it’s almost as if we were saved from – we were falling off the cliff and we just grabbed and put back on the edge again. But it’s not that we have new money to spend I mean all these restrictions, all these financial restrictions have to remain for a while because we have to climb ourselves out of this and hopefully with effort on everybody’s part we come into a better position and with the view to give back and restore some of the benefits that were taken away that’s the primary purpose.”

Reporter: How much more do we have to climb ? 

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary: “We have quite a ways to go yet because what we need to – you know the debt is a number but also we need to have the surpluses in our day to day operations to pay for some of these things and to pay for maintenance and to pay for things that have been deferred.”

Reporter: But so then the public servants could expect to see that 10% reduction taken back or ? 

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary: “It’s a temporary thing and the hope is that we can get back and restore it as quickly as possibly but it requires more than simply a debt management. It requires effort on everybody’s part and I want to thank the public servants who understood and sacrificed and we promise it will not be forever.”

Reporter: Okay so in negotiation with the joint consultation negotiation with the joint unions there was an agreement that the financials of the country would be reviewed every three or six months has that happened ? 

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary: “Not yet the time hasn’t come yet but we’re preparing and you know we open the books and say this is where we are, this is where we were this is where we are this is where we hope to be but it hasn’t happened just yet.”